I didn’t share in last night’s CoDA meeting.
I’m not really sure why.
A line from Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More keeps running through my head: “We don’t have to forfeit our peace.”
I shared in my counseling meeting yesterday afternoon. Maybe that was enough sharing for me. Or maybe I’m practicing what Beattie also teaches: “Make yourself comfortable. When you recognize that you’re in the midst of a chaotic reaction, say or do as little as possible until you can restore your level of serenity and peace.”
And I feel a chaotic reaction bubbling inside.
He was supposed to come with me to my CoDA meeting tonight, but his daughter needed a ride home from her best friend’s house, and so he decided to skip it. We still met for dinner before, which I’m grateful for, but I felt triggered–this isn’t the first time we had plans that were scrapped because his kids wanted to do something instead.
And over dinner conversation, while we talked about vacation plans, I suggested a trip together this year and he declined. His goal this year is to get out of debt. So no, unless I’m paying for both of us, he’s going to say no. He said he wouldn’t be able to enjoy himself if he was still in debt.
“But one day,” he added, “That would be fun.”
Well, I suggested, what about going to see Ruby Falls?
Somewhere in Tennessee.
That’s close enough, he said. It might be manageable.
Then he added, “You’re driving, right?”
This annoyed me. I’ve spent thousands on him. For trips, for holidays, for birthdays.
In our CoDA meeting last night, the behavior of lavish gift-giving was included: “I lavish gifts and favors on those I want to influence.”
Even when we were broken up, I took him ATV-ing in West Virginia for his birthday. Everything was on me. Over $1,000 gone.
I didn’t sleep well last night. After over a month of sleeping peacefully and deep each night, I tossed and turned. I couldn’t get comfortable. As soon as I’d fall asleep, I’d wake up. Eventually, I stripped off most of my pajamas and, exhausted, slept well for a few hours.
All I wanted to do this morning when the alarm went off was cuddle.
He wanted to get up and have coffee right away.
Aren’t you working in town today?
Yes, he said.
But, we usually cuddle extra long on these mornings, I pointed out.
I just feel like coffee.
As he sipped his coffee and I checked my email, I asked him if he wanted to see a production at the local theatre next weekend. Last year, I bought us season tickets and we thoroughly enjoyed our theatre nights.
How much are the tickets, he asked.
That’s kind of pricey. I think I’ll skip it. I need to pay down Christmas.
I feel the temptation to start asking questions–grilling him about what his plans are today, and when he’ll be home. I realize that my bombarding him with questions is a chaotic reaction.
So, note to self: feeling like asking him a multitude of questions is a sign that a chaotic reaction to something is occurring. Rather than give into it, I need to make myself ‘comfortable’ and explore why I’m feeling this way.
A part of why I’m feeling this way is that I know I can no longer lavish him with gifts to try and influence him. I caught myself looking at airfare for two to Mexico last night because of what he said over dinner: unless I was paying, he wasn’t going to go.
I can’t be that person who lavishly spends to gain the approval of another. My fears of rejection and abandonment are kicking in. If I make travel plans for myself and follow through with them, what will become of us? Will I feel shame for spending money rather than saving it? Will my anxiety about traveling alone be met with derision?
I realize that this chaotic reaction is a result of fearing abandonment, rejection, being shamed and criticized. But it’s also about having to do something I don’t do: traveling anyway. Outside of visits to the kids, and outside of a weekend or two in college, I don’t travel alone. I spend a lot of time thinking about it and researching it and imagining what it would be like…but I never do it.
I think that’s why I slept so poorly last night. My new self was wrestling with my old self. I found great airfare to Mexico and it would be easy enough to buy him a ticket, too. But that’s the old me. The new me needs to allow him to make his own decisions. The new me needs to stop waiting for him. The new me needs to honor my own dreams and follow them. Even if that means two days on a beach in Mexico–alone. Even if that means 4 days in Finland traveling with strangers. Or an overnighter to Ruby Falls.
If this year, I feel called to travel, I need to find a way and do it. No more waiting.
Today’s goal will be to not forfeit my peace. I already wrote it on my planner as today’s focus. This means doing whatever I need to do to restore my inner peace and serenity. This means honoring the path I’m on, and allowing him to follow the path he’s chosen.
Even if those paths put us on different continents.